Castration and spaying for your pet, as well as advice on when and why to perform them.
We believe that neutering our pets can be beneficial for their health and wellbeing, as well as preventing unplanned litters.
The question of when to neuter your dog can be a complex one. We can neuter dogs from six months of age, but in some animals there are health benefits to delaying surgery until they are fully grown.
If you are unsure if or when to neuter your dog, please call the surgery and speak to one of our vets or nurses for advice that is personal to your pet.
Castration is a common practice in male dogs to help prevent unacceptable sexual behaviour, reduce hormonally induced aggression and avoid unplanned breeding.
Castration is the surgical removal of the testes under anaesthetic. The procedure is generally carried out as a day patient.
The removal of the testes stops production of the male hormones and so can have a positive effect on behaviour. Behaviour changes may not be instant, and are restricted to the behaviours associated with male hormones:
• Undesirable sexual behaviour, including attractions to female dogs, escaping from the garden, roaming and mounting
• Depending upon how confident they are with other dogs, some dogs will raise their leg whilst urinating and instead of emptying the whole bladder will retain some urine to deposit on vertical surfaces. This behaviour is called scent marking – leaving their scent at nose height for other dogs. Some dogs will do this within the home
• Neutering may cause dogs to be less aggressive towards other dogs
There are also medical benefits to having your dog castrated:
• It eliminates the possibility of testicular cancer
• It greatly reduces the chances of your dog getting prostate disease
• It can reduce the risk of perianal tumours and hernias
There are many advantages to having your bitch spayed – some medical and some behavioural.
• Spaying prevents the bitch from coming into season. Usually this happens twice a year, but it can be once or three times. The season usually lasts for around three weeks. Sometimes during their season the bitch will have a swollen vulva and a discharge of blood and/or mucus. You may see marking behaviour where she will urinate small amounts on objects. She may show signs of restlessness and a lack of appetite
• It prevents unplanned pregnancies
• It stops the unwanted attention of male dogs, who are very persistent in trying to mate with your bitch. Conversely, many unspayed female dogs will seek to escape to find a mate when they are in season
• Spaying eliminates the possibility of a false pregnancy. This is when the bitch feels unwell, produces milk, starts nest building and may be aggressive
• It prevents a terrible, often fatal condition called pyometra, which is an infection of the womb
• It greatly reduces the chance of developing mammary cancer if the bitch is spayed before reaching maturity
There is a lot of talk about the disadvantages of spaying. Some have some truth to them and some don’t.
The first is that your bitch will become fat. It is true that in some dogs, spaying can slow down the metabolism and therefore make them more susceptible to weight gain.
This can, however, be controlled by an appropriate diet. Your vet can offer advice on suitable over the counter diets. They can also train you to Body Condition Score your dog so that you know how to tell if they are beginning to gain weight.
Secondly people assume that spaying will make all bitches incontinent. This is untrue but certain breeds may be predisposed to incontinence and spaying may exacerbate this situation. Discuss this with your vet.
Thirdly it has been said that spayed bitches lose their character. This is simply untrue.
Spaying is generally recommended either before the bitch has her first season or two to three months after her season. This is when her hormone levels and blood supply to her uterus are normal.
During a spay operation, the uterus and both ovaries are removed. A traditional spay will involve traditional surgery in which, under anaesthetic, an incision is made to access the womb and ovaries, and afterwards stitched up.
The procedure is generally done within a day.
As a pet owner the decision of whether to neuter your kitten is one of the most responsible decisions you can make.
Neutering obviously prevents unwanted pregnancies but there are also sound clinical and behavioural reasons to neuter.
Kittens reach sexual maturity at around four months of age. At this time they can be neutered.
Neutering boy kittens will stop them from the smelly behaviour of spraying to mark their territory and they will be less likely to fight with other male cats and thus reduce the risk of them catching the cat equivalent of HIV which is spread by cat bites.
It has been found that neutered male cats stay nearer to home so are less likely to wander off and get run over.
The operation is called castration and involves removing the testes. The procedure is carried out under a general anaesthetic and your kitten will be back home the same day and need to be kept inside for a few days.
Unneutered female kittens come into season every three weeks during the sexually active times of the year and this will attract the attentions of unneutered males who will fight, spray and caterwaul.
Neutering a female cat is called spaying and involves the removal of the ovaries and uterus through an incision in the belly or on their side. The operation is done under anaesthetic and usually your kitten will be home the same day. They will have a shaved area of fur and dissolvable stitches under the skin.
Spaying a cat greatly reduces the chance of them getting the life-threatening womb infection called pyometra and also reduces the chance of mammary tumours.
Neutering causes changes in a cat’s hormonal secretions and changes their energy requirements so their diet will need to change so that they don’t put on too much weight.
Your vet will be able to give you advice and recommendations
Rabbits are social animals and to prevent loneliness, it’s recommended they live in pairs.
Neutered male and female rabbits can cohabit together happily without producing any unwanted litters. Neutering can also help same sex rabbits live together with reduced risks of behavioural problems caused by their hormones.
There are other benefits to neutering rabbits.
● Reduces chances of developing uterine cancers
● It can prevent unwanted mounting and hormonally driven aggression developing – speak to your vet if you are having behavioural problems with your rabbit
Neutering female rabbits is simplest if done at around four months of age before the rabbit has developed large amounts of fat in their abdomen, but can be done at any age after this too.
● Intact male rabbits often can be too aggressive to live with other rabbits, which can leave them lonely
● Neutering can reduce urine spraying, aggression and other behavioural problems that are linked to his hormones
● He can be neutered when his testicles have descended – usually this happens at around 12 weeks
We also offer neutering services for other animals, please enquire if you would like more details.